Teams gracing the upper tier of MAAA volleyball shared a common trait this season with lineups anchored by thriving middle hitters and blockers.
Conference coaches have recognized that impact in their postseason honors, as released on Tuesday following state playoff runs by neighbors Valle Catholic and Ste. Genevieve.
Six of the 12 First Team awards and three more Second Team accolades belong to players who spent at least a large majority of their front-row time in the center of the action.
Two such performers are Valle Catholic sophomore Ella Bertram and Arcadia Valley junior Maddie DeMent, whose squads engaged in three remarkable battles with only slight separation.
The Lady Warriors claim three available First Team spots as Small-School division champions, while the rival Lady Tigers occupy the other three.
Bertram is joined on the First Team by two teammates who often delivered the necessary passes to maximize her attacks in senior setter Rachel Loida and senior libero Brooke Viox.
DeMent became a clear repeat selection to the First Team along with senior libero Katie Whited and junior setter/outside hitter Gracee Smith.
Valle and AV traded three-set victories before meeting for a district crown. The Lady Warriors prevailed in a classic rubber match with both games requiring extra points.
Central captured the MAAA Tournament and Large-School division championships while piling up 27 wins with just two seniors on its roster.
Senior Avery Norris split rotations between setting and providing a right-side threat to balance junior and leading middle attacker Kaley Kimball.
They shared First Team honors with middles Kayleigh Winch of North County, Julia McKlin of Ste. Genevieve and Linley Rehkop of Fredericktown, all six-rotation standouts.
Junior Bridget Bone continued a trend of recent defensive standouts at Farmington, earning First Team recognition at libero in her first varsity season.
Valle Catholic led with six all-conference picks – landing Hannah Drury, Sam Loida and Riley Siebert on the Second Team – while Arcadia Valley and Central had four each.
Rehkop represented one of two all-MAAA freshmen along with Farmington hitter Jade Roth. Versatile Valley setter/hitter Carter Clark was chosen from the sophomore class with Bertram and Sam Loida.
Other Large-School Second Team recipients include Central juniors Jessica Hulsey and Lizi Marler, North County senior Lauren Forrester and junior Emily Veach, and Fredericktown senior Mallory Mathes.
AV senior Kirsten Day and the West County trio of seniors Makenzie Simily and Kylie Newhouse and junior Dori McRaven round out the Small-School Second Team.
2019 MAAA All-Conference Volleyball
Large-School First Team
Bridget Bone – Farmington
Kaley Kimball – Central
Julia McKlin – Ste. Genevieve
Avery Norris – Central
Linley Rehkop – Fredericktown
Kayleigh Winch – North County
Large-School Second Team
Lauren Forrester – North County
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Jessica Hulsey – Central
Lizi Marler – Central
Mallory Mathes – Fredericktown
Jade Roth – Farmington
Emily Veach – North County
Small-School First Team
Ella Bertram – Valle Catholic
Maddie DeMent – Arcadia Valley
Rachel Loida – Valle Catholic
Gracee Smith – Arcadia Valley
Brooke Viox – Valle Catholic
Katie Whited – Arcadia Valley
Small-School Second Team
Carter Clark – Valley
Kirsten Day – Arcadia Valley
Hannah Drury – Valle Catholic
Sam Loida – Valle Catholic
Dori McRaven – West County
Kylie Newhouse – West County
Riley Siebert – Valle Catholic
Makenzie Simily – West County